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What Schools Can Expect in iOS 9

June 10, 2015

Posted by Alex Koch

Apple’s WWDC conference is this week and Apple has released details on the new management & MDM capabilities that will be coming with iOS 9 this fall, including many features long desired by schools.  iOS 9 will work on all iPad 2 and newer devices, including the original iPad Mini, though some advanced features and effects will be disabled on older devices.

Key Takeaways from Apple’s iOS 9 Announcements

Apps assigned directly to devices - Apple IDs not required

Apps will be able to be assigned directly to devices with no invitation process for both app installs and updates.  Apple ID’s will be optional!  App developers will need to approve their apps for this, which most should soon, but unfortunately it sounds like this is an opt-in so some apps may not be available for this method.  There will also be a migration process to switch existing Apple ID assigned VPP apps to device assigned apps without any loss of data within apps.

MDM controlled, OTA iOS Updates

MDMs will be able to control iOS updates for Device Enrollment Program devices.  We aren’t yet sure if this will require the device to already be updated to iOS 9.

Configurator isn’t Dead

Configurator 2.0 was announced and is a major update.  New features include:

  • iCloud support for syncing setting between multiple computers

  • Configurator works with DEP & VPP

  • Major UI & workflow overhaul

  • No user-based check-in/check-out

  • Command line & automator automation capabilities

  • More advanced automatic device renaming capabilities - including serial number

New iOS Restrictions

A number of restrictions schools have been asking for will be available in iOS 9 for supervised devices, including:

  • Prevent setting a passcode

  • Prevent changing wallpaper

  • Prevent changing device name

  • Disable automatic app downloads

  • Prevent iCloud photo library

  • Disable keyboard shortcuts

  • Disable news app

  • Prevent pairing with Apple watches

Other MDM Changes with iOS 9

  • MDMs will be able to install/update apps even if the App Store is disabled on the device.

  • MDMs will be able to convert unmanaged apps to managed apps silently on supervised devices, allowing the MDM to remove any apps.

When will iOS 9 be available?

We are not sure, but unfortunately for schools, expect a late September release as in previous years.

There will be a public beta in July

iOS 9 will be available as a public beta in July, if you wish to prevent your students from installing the beta, you may block it by installing a configuration profile prohibiting end-users from installing configuration profiles onto their devices.

What’s not in iOS 9?

No news yet about a restriction for the music app.

Want to know more?

Overall, the news is great for schools with iPads and this sounds like an important update.  From the end-user’s perspective, most of the other changes announced in iOS 9 are relatively minor, incremental changes, particularly for education. Although the content featured here is most relevant to schools, there are many other changes that are mostly enterprise focused but may also be of interest to education IT departments and technology directors.  For more information, Apple has made much of their WWDC content publicly available at https://developer.apple.com/, see the video “What's New in Managing Apple Devices.” Additionally, Enterprise iOS always has great insights.

learn about eSpark iPad management

Topics: iPad Management  Tech Education News